Wednesday 11 December 2019

The Election: Vote to Keep the Tories out

Tomorrow the general election takes place. Social media is awash with posts and comments from all sides. The temptation is to take to the hills until it's all over. But the thing is, it does matter. And it matters for the hills as well as for everything else. It matters for wildlife, conservation, rewilding, national parks, access. All these are political issues.

Dan Bailey has looked at the party manifestos on these issues and written a good appraisal for UK Hillwalking.  The SNP don't come out as well as the Green Party, Labour or the LibDems yet I'm voting SNP. Why? Because they are the only party able to beat the Tories in Scotland except for a few seats and they are still far better on the environment and the outdoors than them. And I think defeating the Tories is more important than anything. The Tories have never been friends of the outdoors. They've opposed national parks, access and many conservation measures. Private shooting estates with the masses kept out are the Tory ideal.

Of course there are many other important reasons for keeping the Tories out, especially the NHS, and also to reject Johnson's worrying authoritarian suggestions (threatening the BBC, Channel 4, tactical voting) and the mass of misinformation his campaign has put out (88% of lies have come from the Tories according to independent research). Then there's Brexit, which if it goes ahead is likely to be disastrous on just about everything, including nature and the outdoors.

My vote is partly a tactical one, and partly because my MP has been good on many issues, especially universal credit, though rather silent on ones like raptor persecution. But if Labour or the LibDems were most likely to stop the Tories I'd vote for them.

I'm not a member of any political party or an unthinking supporter of any of them. There's a good site called The Political Compass which places parties on two axes, authoritarian-libertarian and left-right. By answering the questionnaire you can see where you fit. I'm down in the bottom left corner - libertarian and left wing. The nearest party to me is the Green Party. I guess I'd vote for them if I thought they could win the seat (I did vote for them for the Scottish Parliament because the system here, which is far more fair than the Westminster one, meant they could win, which they did). But I'm voting SNP because they can win and I think defeating the Tories is more important than anything else.


  1. One reason I visited your twitter once and don't bother now, is because it was replete with retweets of articles that can be profoundly patronizing about other people's reasons for voting the way they do, and this blog happily kept it largely focused on the outdoors in terms of visuals, writings, kit reviews and photographs. It is your blog Chris, but a lot of notable figures both here and stateside are making a mistake by chiming in on very divisive issues from within their field. Is there nowhere free of it?


    1. 100% agree - I'm a massive fan of Chris's books and blog (usually) and in awe of the walking he has done. Unfortunately his consistent and persistent posts on facebook (and sadly now here) on politics leave much to be desired. He is now unfollowed on facebook from me.

  2. It was no surprise that the tories won the election...just maybe the size of their majority.
    I voted SNP as well Chris but it needs to take its foot off the independence pedal. It needs to concentrate on matters such as the health service, education, drugs and yes, the environment. If it can improve in these areas then it is more likely to attract votes for independence if a referendum were to be held.